Pubdate: Wed, 16 Mar 2005
Source: Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA)
Copyright: 2005 New England Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robin Mazzantini
Bookmark: (Mandatory Minimum Sentencing)
Bookmark: (Youth)


To the Editor of THE EAGLE:- This letter is in regards to the story of 
March 16 about the district attorney being asked to revisit the school-zone 
charges of some of the 19 young people who were arrested in September of 
2004. One of my questions would be: Who are the more than 400 people who 
signed this letter? Are they all relatives or close family friends?

These so-called young people are not 3 and 4 years old. They should know 
right from wrong. After all, being a parent, we raise our kids (or do our 
best) to know the difference between the two. In this letter to the DA 
someone says, "Punishment should be made in proportion to the crime" and 
that "two years is too harsh a penalty for a teenager with no criminal 
background." I say wake up! It doesn't make any difference that only a 
small amount of marijuana was involved. A drug is a drug is a drug. It was 
wrong and they knew it, otherwise, why hide it? Just because these may be 
teens from prominent families should we cut them some slack? If these teens 
were black and in the west side of the city, would they get the same 

Let's look for a second at the young man who walked into a bank and said he 
had a bomb. He had no criminal record either. Should he have gotten away 
with it because it wasn't really a bomb?

It is my opinion that these teens should be treated no differently. They 
broke the law and got caught. If the state law requires a minimum of two 
years in jail then so be it. I agree that some laws should be changed but 
isn't that why we elect officials to represent us and put these changes 
into motion? I don't think this decision should be left to our DA's office 
to decide. Let the courts and our laws be the deciding factor.

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom